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The worldwide R user conference, useR! 2014, will take in Los Angeles, June 30-July 3. If you're an R user, or just interested in learning about what R can do first-hand from members of the R community, this is the conference to attend.

In case you missed them, here are some articles from February of particular interest to R users: 

A statistical analysis of various forecasting methods (using R) leads to correct predictions for 21 of 24 Oscars awards

In 1990, 87% of Americans could be uniquely identified given only their gender, date of birth and the 5-digit ZIP. You can check how easily you can be identified using those three data points here, and vastly more data is available about individuals today compared to 24 years ago. In this brave new world of social sharing, open data and data security revelations, data privacy is a big issue for consumers and businesses alike. 

The image below alternates between two versions of the same photograph. There is one difference between the two pictures. Can you spot the difference?

(Image below the jump — the flashing can be a bit taxing on the eyes.)

R-core member Peter Dalgaard announced yesterday that R 3.0.3 is now available. This is the final update to the R 3.0 series, and includes several small but handy new features and minor bug fixes. Improvements include support for writing very large tables to disk, better handling of foreign-language calendar dates, and more accuracy when calculating extreme quantiles of the Cauchy distribution. 

Will we always need data scientists, or will the Data Science role be replaced by easy-to-use automated applications? Mikio L.

by Rodney Sparapani, PhD

Rodney is an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Health and Society from the Division of Biostatistics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and president of the Milwaukee Chapter of the ASA which is hosting an R workshop on Data Mining in Milwaukee on April 4th.